D. Yelv Talks Passion For Music, Baltimore, ‘Cal Ripken’ EP & More w/ The Hot Box Tv
D. Yelv has worked diligently at becoming the next big thing to come out of “Charm City,” aka Baltimore. From King Los to the late Lor Scoota to Tate Kobang, Baltimore is beginning to position itself as a hip-hop city that has a lot to offer. With so much talent brewing, you may wonder who’s next up? The answer to that question is D. Yelv. The University of Maryland graduate who’ve turned his passion for English into a career in rap uses his writing skills to develop a style that remains true to the golden age of rap. Mixing beats and lyrics with intense structure and delivery, Yelv has developed a signature sound. D. Yelv is not only providing a different look into Baltimore’s emerging rap scene, but also bringing that feel good music back that everyone can relate to. We recently sat down with Yelv to discuss his passion for music, Baltimore, and his latest EP Cal Ripken, which you can stream here.
Congratulations on your new mixtape. I know you’ve been working very hard on it for the past year or so. What do you hope people take away from this mixtape? What impression are you trying to leave on your listener?
My goal with the project was to just show my personality and introduce myself to the world. I felt like I had been putting out music but no solid project that could let people see me for who I am and who I’m not and will no who I am moving forward. I want whoever clicks play to know who they’re listening to D. Yelv and know what makes me stand out from other artists. “Cal Ripken” is beginning of that.
“Cal Ripken” is the inspiration behind your mixtape, since you’re a Baltimore native. What’s the story behind that? What’s the metaphor behind using his persona?
It started off with “Cal Ripken” the song. It has a “this is who I am” type of vibe, or at least that’s how I felt when I was writing it. I think I started getting caught up in trying to make the type of music people wanted me to make and finally just decided if I’m going to rap, then I gotta do me and stay true to myself. I look at “Cal Ripken” as a star for the city of Baltimore but he’s not necessarily the “sexy” celebrity. His biggest stat (consecutive games streak) was based on consistency. I feel like that’s the type of artist I am. I don’t try to make club bangers or one-hit-wonder type records. I just want to make people feel and vibe to what I’m saying. I think in the long run consistency is what’ll always keep me going and what’l make me win.
How was your upbringing in Baltimore? When did you start to use music as a voice for your city
My parents always kept me straight and away from trouble so I can’t complain about my upbringing. I’m very blessed. Music was never intended to be a voice for the city. It was more so an outlet and a voice for myself. I’ve always been into writing, so eventually it just transitioned over beats. My music is really reflective and based on everyday situations I think almost anyone can relate to.
Whats your favorite song on your mixtape and why?
It always changes but right now it’s “So Good.” “So Good” was the last song I recorded for the project, but I wrote the record in about 20 minutes. Sometimes I get caught up and frustrated that the whole world doesn’t know what I do that I start to take for granted the people who do support me. “So Good” is me reminiscing over where I was when I started rapping versus where I am now. I’m not where I need to be, but I see my growth and am more confident in where I’m headed. That “feels so good” to me.
What do you think separates you from all the other artist in the game today? Why should someone who has never listened to D. Yelv, listen now?
I think what separates me is that I actually can rap. This may be an old school approach, but I have more respect for bars than hooks. I don’t think a lot of rappers today can actually spit. Also, I try to be open and vulnerable in my music. I think that makes me very relatable because I take you through everyday emotions, highs and lows that anyone can feel and vibe to.
What can we expect from D. Yelv in 2017? What’s next for you now that the mixtape is out?
A few more videos. I’ve done 3 for “Cal Ripken” already. You’ll probably see another 2 minimum from this project. I’m already started on my next project as well, so I can’t let up. “Cal Ripken” is the start of 2017, but there’s much more music to come.